Before buying the latest tech device for your home, it's probably best to consider what you really need —and what will work with the speakers, locks and light you already have installed.
A smart doorbell that you are eyeing may not work with the connected lock you already have at home. Or the smart lights your neighbor has — and you'd like to install too — may require more than the investment of just a few bulbs.
Knowing how a speaker, lock or robot vacuum may actually operate in your space, and if they will work with each other, can help you avoid buying the wrong device, or one that isn't right your home. The guides below will help you escape those missteps, including, for example, not buying an Alexa-only air monitor for your Google Assistant home.
Whether you're a beginner buying your first video doorbell, or someone looking to upgrade their latest smart display, consider us your brain — your GearBrain — for your smart home. Let's get started.
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Home Security systems
Smart security can be as simple as a single smart doorbell like Ring's, to a comprehensive system with 24/7 coverage
Home security is one of those concerns that affect everyone — from the kind of lock you put in your door, to security networks that are monitored by a company 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You're probably somewhere in the middle, but we have guides that address every swing of the dial. You can find suggestions on the best security cameras that also push video right to your phone, to white glove security services who can come in and handle every detail for you:
- Protect your home with these 8 smart security systems - a look at the best of breed smart home security and automation companies on the market.
- Home Security's Disruption Eruption: What You Need To Know: Here you will learn about the three different types of home security system options available for today's smart home.
- Will IoT Lock Down Your House Or Open The Door To Hackers?: This article will help you learn about the vulnerabilities of IoT devices and how to protect them from hackers.
- 5 Best Questions Around Smart Security Cameras: In case you just want to buy a single security video camera, here are a list of important questions you need to ask before you buy one.
- Nest Cam: One of the Best Smart Security Cameras: one of the best security cameras to consider.
- Best Smart Home Security Systems - This article will assist you in finding the best home security system based on your smart home needs. It provides names of the best home security systems for each of the home security system available today.
Smart lights can help you create new scenes and moods in your home
What's a home without lighting? We rarely think about the lights in our space, just expecting to flip a switch and be bathed in the glow. But smart lights have changed that, with options and colors that cover every spectrum of the rainbow. (In other words, millions.) Thinking you'd like to add some smart lights to your space? Here's where to start, with details on what a smart light actually does, the bulbs that can work out of the box and those that need a hub (yes, we'll explain that too) and platforms we think are worth considering:
- Smart Light Bulbs Have A Big Achilles Heel: Learn what happens if you don't use smart LED bulbs correctly.
- Smart Switches vs Smart Lights: Which is best solution? - did you know your home might not have the correct wiring to power the new connected devices? Learn about smart switches and smart lights and find out which is the best option for you to pursue to make your home smarter.
- 5 Best Questions To Ask Before Buying a Smart LED Bulb: Here are questions which can help you buy the right smart LED bulb for your smart home.
- Philips Hue Smart Bulbs Cast A Bright Glow: here is one of the best LED smart bulbs to consider.
- 6 smart light platforms to transform your home: a list of the 6 best smart LED lights and systems for you to choose for your smart home.
Smart locks can be opened and closed via apps on a smartphone
Locks, we all have one in our front door, one of the most common devices people have at home. But the 21st Century has brought an upgrade to the old way of turning a key to secure our space. Smart locks are easy to use, and simple to buy if not always so simple to install. That's not a problem with GearBrain helping you. Here are guides on what to know before you buy a smart lock, and how to get them to work with other security features, like a video doorbell:
- Smart Locks Get Smart About Making a Backup Plan: Learn how to set up a backup plan in case your smart lock doesn't work. Understanding this prior to purchasing a smart lock is key.
- 5 Smart Questions To Ask Before Buying a Smart Lock: Learn about smart locks and what you need to know before buying one.
- 5 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Smart Doorbell For Your Smart Home: If you want to get a video doorbell to go with your smart locks, this article will help understand how video doorbells work and what to know before you buy one.
- Best Smart Home Locks - here is a list of good smart locks to consider.
Smart leak detectors can notify people when water is detected — even if no one is home
Water damage is one of the mostly experiences for any home owner and renter too. Luckily, there are very inexpensive solutions called leak detectors that not only can tell when water is starting to pour into places it shouldn't —but alert you too. Here are guides on our picks for some of the best, and how these smart detectors actually work in your home:
- Smart leak detectors make you aware if there's water everywhere: Water damage is the #1 insurance claim among homeowners. Learn about how they work and how you can integrate a leak detector into your smart home system.
- Best water leak protectors. It's a list of the best leak detectors to consider buying for your smart home.
- Protect your smart home against flooding with these 7 connected leak detectors: A guide to our seven favorite on the market today.
- Video buying guide to smart leak detectors: A quick one-minute guide to the highlights on how these smart home devices can help you at home.
Smart shades and blinds can be operated through a smartphone and app
Shades and blinds are some those extra dressings in a home that can add some privacy, and even help set a mood. Today, there are a number of these window options that are connected to apps, so you can raise and lower them just from your phone. And guess what: you don't even have to be home. Our favorites? Check out these guides:
- Smart Home Shades: Great Idea, If You've Got The Money: This will help you learn not only how smart shades work, but which ones to consider for your smart home system.
- Lutron Serena Review: Rewarding Smart Shade Control, After a Strenuous Install, one of the best smart shades on the market.
- Automated smart window blinds for your home: Here are seven different options for controlled, motorized blinds at a wide variety of prices.
Smart Plugs and Switches
Smart plugs can turn nearly any product into a connected device
Think you don't have the goods to make your home smart? We're about to introduce you to some wonderful products called smart plugs and switches. Think of these as the wands and scarves you'll use to make smart magic bloom in your home. Our guide will teach what these devices are, and how to install them too:
- Installing smart plugs and switches: Your complete guide: here is a buying guide for you to use if looking for a smart plug, outlet or wall switch.
- 5 questions to ask before buying your first smart plugs and switches: Learn how these simple gadgets give smartness - and phone or voice control - to 'dumb' devices throughout your home. It will help you buy the right device for your smart home.
Smart refrigerators and ovens are starting to streamline the way we cook and shop
A TV that knows what you like to watch, a refrigerator that can tell you when it's time to order milk and ovens that can suggest what to make for dinner based on what's in the cupboard? Stay with us, it's getting exciting in your kitchen, and here's everything to get you started:
- Your smart appliance may not be that smart, yet: With connectivity coming to appliances, here are insights on what you need to know before you buy one of these new connected appliances.
- Is your smart TV smart enough to run your home? It will be: Our TVs are growing smarter each day but is that a good thing? Does it really matter? This article will help you understand how smart televisions work and the benefits they offer.
- Smart home products and appliances offer big opportunities but consumers need education: good article on what's coming and what you need to know about smart appliances.
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